Sjolander Road Fellowship

Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

the god fearing



The term, "God fearing", is generally used to indicate someone who is praiseworthy. Normally, we don't consider fearfulness to be a desirable state, much less one which elevates one's stature in the eyes of others. However, in the religious/political realm of Orthodox Christianity, fearing God is thought to be honorable and a measure of good character. It is also considered an essential element of pleasing and being accepted by God. Occasionally, we might hear that the word "fear" can mean respect instead of terror, but the church definitely preaches a fearful God, so it's hard to escape the idea that fearing God means being afraid of Him.


What does fearing God really say about man and about God. Can being afraid of God actually be beneficial to us as human beings? The church may suggest that fearing Him promotes proper obedience and piety, causing the fearful to escape His wrath by living appropriately. In this, they consider fear of God as good because it motivates man's necessary response to achieve God's acceptance and blessing.


That is the common explanation for why fear of God is good. However, since fear in general is not something we view as desirable, why is God fearing an act or condition of prominence and respectability? Does fear ever provide the impetus for doing something noble. Usually when someone does something we consider extraordinary in a fearful situation, we conclude that they operated despite their fear not because of it.


Additionally, if God is someone to be feared, then we are hard pressed to trust Him to do what is right. If my relationship with God is based on my fearing Him, how can I ever be at peace with Him? For me the idea that fear can be the basis for my God relationship is strangely perverse. Why would God want me to fear Him? How does that meet His need or mine? Fearful people do fearful things, and I can't understand why God fear is any different in that effect.